‘Half-rice’ ordinance revived in Cebu City
CEBU CITY, Philippines—Did you ever see a ‘half-rice’ option in menus here?
Well, that soon may be required in food establishments and even school canteens in the city.
This after Cebu City Councilor Mary Ann delos Santos called for the full implementation of a nine-year-old measure that prescribes the option of a half-rice serving in the food industry to achieve consumption efficiency amid the rising prices of the Filipino staple food.
In a resolution, Delos Santos says City Ordinance No. 2409, or the Rice Conservation Ordinance of Cebu City, can help in the national government’s efforts to teach the public about the importance of rice conservation.
“As a legislator, initiating legislation is a potent tool to take concrete action in this time of uncertainty. This ordinance is a policy tool that demands full activation,” she said.
It was in 2014 when Delos Santos authored the rice conservation ordinance of Cebu City, about the same time when then President Benigno Aquino III issued Presidential Decree No. 494 in a bid to attain rice sufficiency and to engage the general public to be responsible rice consumers.
Studies conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute show that every Filipino wastes about two tablespoons of cooked rice or nine grams of uncooked rice every meal.
“In 2010 alone, our wasted rice is equivalent to 13 percent of the total rice imports of the same year, amounting to P6.2 billion or the consumption of nearly P2.6 million Filipinos in a year,” says a portion of the ordinance.
Unfortunately, Ordinance No. 2409 has not been implemented until now.
Under the directive, business establishments involved in the preparation and sale of meals such as restaurants, schools, offices, hospitals, cafeterias, catering operations, fast food chains, and other food-related services are required to include a half-rice serving option in their menu.
No specific measure for ‘half-rice’ serving
No specific volume or standard weight is given for a “half-rice” serving. It may therefore vary depending on the servings of particular establishments.
The city health office is tasked to inspect food establishments and to submit within two months a list of those that do not comply with the law.
Those found violating the ordinance will be fined P1,500 for the first offense, P3,000 for the second, and P4,000 for the third infraction. A fine of P5,000 and suspension of the business permit due to continued noncompliance will be imposed on the fourth and final offense.
The Department of Agriculture (DA), Delos Santos notes, also issued a directive urging local governments to pass an ordinance requiring members of the food service industry to include the half-rice serving in their menus.
Delos Santos says she is hopeful that the ordinance will bring about positive changes in communities.
“The implementation of this ordinance will make a difference to rice conservation. That is why I revived this ordinance because of the rice issue (currently besetting the country),” she points out.
The country is facing a shortage in local supply, causing prices to rise and forcing the government to resort to importation.
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.